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MOSES BEN ABRAHAM ABINU:

Christian convert to Judaism; printer and author; born at Nikolsburg; died at Amsterdam in 1733 or 1734. According to Wolf ("Bibl. Hebr." iii., No. 1510b), Moses ben Abraham was a native of Prague, and was circumcised at Amsterdam. In 1686-87 he worked for two printers of Amsterdam, but from 1690 to 1694 seems to have owned a printing establishment and to have printed several Hebrew books, including his own (according to Benjacob, "Oẓar ha-Sefarim," p. 217) Judæo-German translation of Hannover's "Yewen Meẓulah." In 1709 Moses established a printing-office at Halle, Germany, where in 1712 he printed his "Tela'ot Mosheh" (or "Weltbeschreibung"), a Judæo-German work on the Ten Tribes, having collected the material from a number of sources, particularly from Abraham Farissol and Gedaliah ibn Yaḥya. He continued printing in Halle until 1714, in which year he printed "Tefillat Mosheh," a prayer-book, and Berechiah Baruch's "Zera' Berak." Owing to anti-Christian passages in these two works, his printing-office was closed by royal order, he was imprisoned, and his books were confiscated. His coreligionists, however, helped him to escape to Amsterdam, where he printed in the same year (1714) the treatise Rosh ha-Shanah (see Halle-on-the-Saale, Typography). His children also became printers in Amsterdam.

Bibliography:
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. ii. 392;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. cols. 1761, 2994-2995;
  • Steinschneider and Cassel, Jüdische Typographie, in Ersch and Gruber, Encyc. sec. ii., part 28, p. 86;
  • Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, ed. Asher, ii. 289 (note by Zunz).
J. M. Sel.
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